In past years, Arlington has been ranked as having some of the worst drivers in the nation. That doesn’t surprise Brian Meenaghan, who has started a Twitter account to document what he views as a never-ending parade of bad drivers on his block.
Meenaghan, an Arlington Heights resident, started the Twitter account @BadDriversof1stRdS at the end of April. The account focuses on the worst offenders on the 3600 block of 1st Road S., a one-way street located in a high traffic area around S. Glebe Road, Route 50 and the Thomas Jefferson middle school and community center.
“I started this account as a cathartic thing because we’ve had a lot of frustrations on our little block. We’re about 400-450 feet long as a block and we dead end at a middle school,” said Meenaghan. “We have people whipping up this block and people coming the wrong way from the middle school. Because of the oddity of the exit for Route 50 around Glebe Road, we also have a lot of people turning around in driveways and going back up the wrong way, trying to go back to 50.”
Meenaghan’s main concern is drivers going the wrong way on the one-way street (traffic is supposed to only flow from S. Glebe Road to Old Glebe Road). From cars to school buses and even Metrobuses, Meenaghan has caught all types of drivers driving the wrong way or speeding — or both — on the narrow street. Photos and video posted to the Twitter account document the broken traffic laws. (See some of the tweets, below.)
“I work downtown and I’m not here physically during the day all that much and I personally see three or four people turning around every day. I’m probably outside maybe 45 minutes to an hour before dinner with my daughter and I see in just that short amount of time a lot of people going the wrong way,” said Meenaghan.
The Twitter account is a joint venture with his neighbors, who often supply the photos he uploads to the website. Meenaghan said he and his neighbors have been trying for years to convince Arlington County to implement traffic calming measures on the block.
“My neighbors are all very involved in this,” said Meenaghan. “I’m not here that much so I’m not here to take a lot of these pictures. You miss a lot of them because they happen so quickly. Probably six of my neighbors have given me photos over the last couple of weeks. It’s kind of a group-wide effort.”
Part of the impetus for the effort is that the block is now chock full of children.
“We now have 15 kids on this block. There are only 23 houses and there are 15 kids under the age of 10. There have been five kids born in the last six months,” said Meenaghan. (One could perhaps see the block as a microcosm of the challenges with burgeoning enrollment facing Arlington Public Schools.)
Along with the kids living on the block, the presence of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at the end of the block means that there is a constant stream of kids on the block during the school year. It’s only set to become busier, with continued growth at the middle school and the construction of a new elementary school on the middle school’s former parking lot.
In an Italian automotive two-fer, the Maserati dealership on Glebe Road near the I-395 exit is now also offering Fiats.
Both high-end Maserati sports cars and diminutive Fiats are now displayed outside the dealership.
Hat tip to Tom C. Block
A program called RAPIDPASS Virginia has launched, allowing drivers to get the required test for their vehicle during their daily commute.
The on-road testing is being conducted in various parts of Arlington and other Northern Virginia localities.
From a press release:
Motorists simply drive through conveniently located on-road testing equipment positioned throughout Northern Virginia to have their vehicle emissions measured. Owners of well-maintained, clean-running vehicles will receive notification of a passing emissions inspection via mail, or motorists can go online to www.RAPIDPASS.org and enter their license plate number to check if their vehicle has been processed as clean. For vehicles identified as clean, owners can conveniently pay their inspection fee on-line or through the mail and proceed with their vehicle registration renewal. Taking advantage of RAPIDPASS® allows a motorist to skip the trip to a traditional testing station for the biennial emissions test.
Fifteen RAPIDPASS® on-road emissions testing systems are being conveniently distributed across more than 150 roadside mobile inspection locations in the Northern Virginia inspection area counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. The locations are positioned on frequently used thoroughfares and will be rotated throughout the month.
Testing locations are being posted on the RAPIDPASS website. Today through Thursday, the testing is being done on Lee Highway in Rosslyn.
The intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive was temporarily closed due to a two car accident this afternoon.
Police were on scene helping to direct traffic after shutting down the intersection at approximately 1:30 p.m. It reopened around 2:20 p.m.
There were no major injuries, according to an officer at the scene, and one of the drivers was seen walking around the scene. The other was reportedly taken to the hospital.
The northbound lanes of S. Carlin Springs Road were shut down this morning after a series of car crashes.
Carlin Springs was shut down around 11:15 a.m. from Columbia Pike to 8th Street S.
There were two different car crashes within feet of each other, said a police officer at the scene. The officer could not say how either of the crashes occurred.
In the first accident, a black SUV ran into a parked car on the shoulder of S. Carlin Springs Road. The second, just steps from the first, reportedly involved multiple vehicles.
There were no injuries, we’re told.
Police say 11 vehicles were found with smashed rear passenger windows Thursday morning. The car interiors had been ransacked, with some items stolen — mostly coins and cash but also small items from a Bic lighter to an iPod, according to police reports.
The break-ins happened in parking lots and streets around Pentagon City, including the 1100 block of Army Navy Drive, 1500 block of S. Fern Street, and the 1200 and 1900 blocks of S. Eads Street.
So far, no arrests have been made.
Police say they caught a man they suspect of breaking into dozens of cars in Rosslyn “red-handed” over the weekend.
The arrest happened around 1:40 a.m. Saturday, on the 1100 block of Wilson Blvd.
Arlington County police officers were conducting a plainclothes detail in Rosslyn, in response to the break-ins, when they spotted a man who looked like a “person of interest” seen in earlier security camera images.
The man, 54-year-old Antoine Kennedy, was “caught red-handed attempting to break into a vehicle with a screwdriver,” according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Kennedy, who is homeless and was known to stay in the Rosslyn area, is suspected of “at least 50 vehicle break-ins in the month of February,” Sternbeck said. Police are continuing to investigate whether Kennedy might have been responsible for even more break-ins.
Kennedy has been charged with habitual petit larceny, possession of burglarious tools and felony destruction of property. He was held without bond.
Nearly 20 cars were broken into in the Rosslyn area over the weekend.
According to police, the front passenger side window was smashed and items were stolen from at least 14 cars in a parking garage on the 1600 block of Clarendon Blvd. The break-ins happened early Saturday morning.
These break-ins followed a series of 17 car break-ins in Rosslyn during the prior weekend, in which passenger side windows were also smashed.
Police told NBC 4 (above) that the break-ins may be related but so far they haven’t been able to catch the suspect or suspects on surveillance camera. The thieves are looking for small items of value that can be easily concealed, so one way to protect yourself is to remove any such items from your car when leaving it parked overnight.
Voting Starts in Congressional Primary — Polls opened at 6:00 this morning in the seven-way race for the Democratic nod to replace Rep. Jim Moran. The polls will close at tonight 7:00. The candidates seeking the nomination are Don Beyer, Bill Euille, Lavern Chatman, Adam Ebbin, Patrick Hope, Derek Hyra and Mark Levine. [Washington Post]
Few Surprises in Howze Speech — County Board candidate Alan Howze addressed the local Democratic faithful at the Arlington Jefferson-Jackson dinner on Saturday. Howze talked about school overcrowding and global warming in the speech, which was described as “low-key,” and said little that would suggest a significant change in strategy since his special election loss to independent candidate John Vihstadt. [InsideNova]
County Employee Sentenced for Taking Bribes — Francisco Hernandez, who worked in Arlington County’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles Select office, has been sentenced to two years in jail after being convicted of taking bribes in connection with his job as a tax assessor supervisor. [FBI Washington Field Office]
Crystal Car Festival This Weekend — In honor of Father’s Day, Crystal City will hold its second annual Crystal Car Father’s Day Auto Festival from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 15. The free event features cars on display, live music, kids activities and a beer/wine garden. [Crystal City]
Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi
‘Most Clarendon Craigslist Ad Ever’ — Is this listing for rooms in a house in the Clarendon-Courthouse area, which starts out with the greeting “Whasup Craiglist,” the “most Clarendon Craigslist ad ever,” as our tipster puts it? According to the listing, two people are leaving the four-person house and the remaining residents “are looking for new members [to add] to our wolfpack.” [Craigslist, Twitter]
Arlington Is 2nd Most Affordable for Car Insurance — A website says Arlington has the second most-affordable car insurance in the country. The ranking is based on the average insurance rate for a Ford F-150 as a percentage of the county’s median income. [Nerd Wallet]
SpringFest in Shirlington Tomorrow — Campbell Avenue in Shirlington will be closed to traffic tomorrow (Saturday) for the first annual Mid-Atlantic SpringFest beer festival. It costs $30 for tickets to sample the festival’s brews, which are being provided by more than 45 breweries. [Capitol City Brewing]
Summer Opening Eyed for Silver Line — After a series of delays, Metro is hoping to open the first phase of the Silver Line at some point this summer. [Reston Now]
ACPD Participating in Prescription Drug Take-Back — From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday), Arlington County Police will participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Those who have expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs lying around can bring them to one of three Arlington fire stations to have the medication safely disposed of, no questions asked. [Arlington County]
Arlington County police cars are getting a new look.
All new county police cars are receiving a sleeker paint job, as seen in the above photo (left). Existing patrol cars will keep the old decals (right) to save money, we’re told.
The police department is planning to purchase 25 new patrol cars this year, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Updated Sept. 5 at 9:00 a.m.
Drivers of electric cars will soon be able to charge up in Clarendon.
The parking lot of the Walgreens Pharmacy at 2825 Wilson Blvd is the site of Arlington’s newest electric car charging station, and it will be operational in about a month.
The station has multiple charging ports for all types of electric cars, including one that charges some cars in 20 minutes. Those interested in using the chargers can buy a monthly subscription from eVgo, the company that owns the ports and is installing about 50 of them around the Washington area in the next several years.
A two-hour charger can be used for a $5-per-month subscription, while the 20-minute charger subscription starts at $20 per month.
There are already electric car charging stations at the Hilton Crystal City and Rosslyn Gateway buildings (part of a competing charger network), stations in Shirlington and at Pentagon Row, and stations in Vornado properties in Crystal City. The Clarendon station is eVgo’s first in the county.
(Updated at 1:10 p.m.) There have been 41 reported thefts of vehicle tires and rims in Arlington so far this year. Of those, 24 have been stolen from just two models: the Honda Fit and Civic.
In keeping with what seems to be a national trend, the Fit is the most-targeted of the two, accounting for 16 — nearly two fifths — of the 41 thefts, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Tara-Leeway Heights resident Tom Olsen says he recently was the victim of the wheel thieves.
“My wife and I woke… to find that all 8 wheels had been stolen from our cars — a Honda Fit and a Honda Civic,” he told ARLnow.com. “The cars were in the driveway of our house. Both cars were locked… and near enough to a streetlight that the thieves would have been seen by a passerby. Also, the Civic had locking lug nuts on the wheels, but the thieves didn’t have any problem removing them. The officer said a pro can get them off easily, it just takes them slightly longer.”
“According to the police, [the] tow operator and rental car agent, Honda Fits (and to a lesser extent, Civics) have been targeted recently in and around Arlington as well as in Maryland and D.C.,” he continued. “In fact, when we told the rental car guy that our wheels had been stolen, he immediately asked ‘Do you have a Fit?'”
The Honda Fit Sport model is in demand because its 15-inch allow wheels fit low-riding cars customized for street racing. They also fetch high prices on the illegal car parts market.
The thefts usually happen between midnight and 5 a.m., [Fairfax County police officer Brendan] Murphy said. The thieves usually break into the car first to remove the jack so they can get the wheels off. The whole operation only takes a few minutes.
He advises Honda owners to install motion sensor lights. Car alarms with tilt sensors would be good, too. And if you happen to get up in the middle of the night, check on your car.
Photos courtesy Tom Olsen
Whether outdoors or inside, there are numerous events taking place around Arlington this weekend where you can spend some quality time with dad. Here are a few to consider:
Columbia Pike Blues Fest — The free event features food, music and children’s activities. Festivities run from 1:00-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, on S. Walter Reed Drive at Columbia Pike. This year’s headliner is guitarist G.E. Smith, who gained widespread fame through his time as the musical director on Saturday Night Live, following his stint as the lead guitarist for the band Hall & Oates. More information, including a full music schedule, can be found online.
Donuts with Dad — The Cherrydale Branch Library (2190 N. Military Road) still has a few spots open for dads and kids who want to stop by on Saturday for some sweet treats. From 10:30-11:30 a.m., the library will provide donuts and a craft activity for children. The event is free, but advance sign up is required by calling 703-228-6330 or visiting by the library.
Crystal Car Auto Festival — Crystal City is hosting its first annual Father’s Day Auto Festival. Visitors can check out a variety of autos, including innovative electric vehicles and classic muscle cars. The event runs from 2:00-6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free and a cash beer garden offers beer and wine. More information about exact locations for the auto festival can be found online.
Dash 4 Dad Race — Pacers has again partnered with ZERO — The Project to End Prostate Cancer for the four mile Dash for Dad race on Sunday. The 8:30 a.m. race begins at Pentagon Row close to the Pacers store (1101 S. Joyce Street). Registration and road closures for the race can be found online.
Go Fishing — Although the county no longer stocks trout in Four Mile Run due to budget cuts, residents are still allowed to fish in local waterways. Anglers over the age of 16 need a license to fish. The Department of Parks and Recreation website uses a fish logo to indicate parks — such as Alcova Heights, Glencarlyn and Upper Pimmit Run — where visitors may be successful in pulling in a catch.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID and Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization are ARLnow.com advertisers
The event, which is new for 2013, will feature a number of unique and notable cars displayed in local courtyards and surface parking lots. “Crystal Car,” as it’s called, will take place between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 16.
“The festival plans to showcase a variety of automobile categories including innovative electric vehicles, area sports car auto clubs, classic muscle cars, and more,” the Crystal City Business Improvement District said in a press release. “The Washington Wine Academy will host a beer garden to further enhance the experience and celebrate Fathers Day in style.”
Admission is free but cash is required for beer and wine purchases at the beer garden. Cars will be displayed in in three Metro-accessible locations: the courtyard of 2121 Crystal Drive, the parking lot of 220 20th Street S. (site of the Crystal City wine festival) and the parking lot behind Freddie’s Beach Bar (555 23rd Street S.)
“Crystal City is a great place to host a car festival,” said Angela Fox, President and CEO of the Crystal City BID, in a statement. “Though there are other car shows in the Washington Metro area, none are as centrally-located, or as bike/Metro/car accessible, with tons of free parking and the great brunch and dinner options of Crystal City.”
Those with cars they want to showcase can register online.
File photo. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser